One of Cayman’s most endearing fun runs is 25 years old – Butterfield’s St Patrick’s Day Irish Jog/Walk. The event marks the St Patrick’s Day celebrations in style by hosting hundreds of runners, joggers and walkers for a 5km mile tour of the Britannia golf course, just as the sun sets. The event, which takes place today, Friday, Mar. 17 at 5:30 p.m. sharp, follows the cart path around the Britannia course and villas.
Every year the Irish Jog raises thousands of dollars for needy causes throughout the Cayman Islands and this year all proceeds raised will be donated to the Special Needs Foundation Cayman. While the old Hyatt hotel used to be the co-sponsor of this great event alongside Butterfield, in latter years Dart has stepped up to co-sponsor it.
The St Patrick’s Day Jog has a special place in the heart of this writer. As newcomers to the Cayman Islands almost 23 years ago, my husband, (a Butterfield employee for over 20 years) and I undertook our first St Patrick’s Day Jog in 1995, and we have been eager participants ever since. The event then was obviously a lot smaller than it is today, yet the enthusiasm of the joggers and the efforts the organisers put into creating a fun, family-orientated event was just as great then as it is now. People have always really embraced the spirit of the Irish, painting their faces, dressing up as Irish favourites such as red-haired leprechauns, donning green necklaces and bandanas and generally having a great time. I have sprinted around the course as a 20-something, pushed babies and toddlers around in prams and push chairs and now see my kids, as older teens, compete in the Jog competitively.
A big draw for this event has to be the staggered start, allowing runners to start at the front of the pack, followed by joggers, who, in turn, are followed by stroller pushers, families with young children and amblers such as myself. I have also seen the odd scooter and kiddie bike which is always then guaranteed to be carried around by dad as the child gets bored with it half way round and decides to run the course instead.
Lacking the serious focus of a dedicated runner (many of whom complete the course before I’ve even made it to the golf course itself), I see the event as the chance to wind my way around very pleasant scenery, meet up with old friends along the way as well as at the end of the course, as I pass out, red faced and sweaty from exhaustion. There is always a great supply of drinks, fruits and other nibbles to work your way through, even if you do bring up the rear, as we often do. Once all the race goers have completed the course, people always stick around in their hundreds to see if they have won any of the excellent prizes that are up for grabs at the raffle. Cayman Airways flights, dinners, spa offerings, crystal and glassware and loads
more are some of the great prizes available if your number comes up.
The entry fee is a very reasonable $10 per person and Jog participants receive a T-shirt, race number and, as mentioned, participants have the chance to win one of several fabulous spot prizes awarded on a draw basis. There will also be free hats, face stickers and other fun wear for everyone.
As today is Jog day, you can register at the Britannia Golf Course from 4 p.m. to 5:15 p.m.
Enjoy the Jog and the luck of the Irish to you!